13 Things You Should Know About
Chia Seeds

I‘m really not a huge fan of the term ‘superfood’. Basically because there tends to be lots of hype and a big price tag for something that may or may not taste any good.

So I was a bit hesitant to jump on the chia seed band wagon. But my curiosity got the better of me.

And you know what?

They are pretty tasty little suckers. Combined with their nutrition credentials they’re worthwhile having around.

So today I thought I’d share some chia seed facts in case you’ve been thinking about trying them yourself…

13 Things You Should Know About Chia Seeds

1. They pack a mean nutritional punch.
A look on the back of the chia seed pack says it all. They’re made up of protein, fat and dietary fibre. Plus there’s a heap of minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous.

2. They’re high in fibre
So they’re going to keep you regular. And about 20% of the fiber is soluble. The beauty of soluble fiber is that it promotes a healthy digestive system by feeding the good microbes in your gut.

3. They can absorb A LOT of water.
Which means they bulk up and give you a full feeling for longer. Although if you aren’t drinking enough water, this can cause ‘blockages’ if you know what I mean… So make sure you stay well hydrated.

4. They have a crazy texture.
The seeds themselves aren’t too dissimilar to poppy seeds, nothing too crazy there. But add water and you have a completely different beast. Slimy or oozy is probably the best way to describe it. I really like it but I can see why you might be put off (don’t think about snot).

5. They come in different colours.
I’ve had black and white and apart from the visuals couldn’t really detect a difference.

6. They come in different forms.
You can buy whole seeds, chia bran, ground chia and chia seed oil. I’ve used whole seeds in the recipe below. And have been using the bran as my ‘go-to’ fiber source to have on yoghurt or in a smoothie because it’s gluten free and super low carb.

7. You can sprout them.
I haven’t tried it but remember the chia pet? Yes, if you decide you don’t like them you can always turn the rest of the packet into a member of the family.

8. They make a brilliant low carb breakfast.
I love them instead of oats in a bircher-style muesli. Use 1/4 cup chia seeds and 3/4 cup liquid such as milk, coconut milk or almond milk. If you like grated apple you can add that as well. Either soak overnight in the fridge or leave for 20 minutes if you’re short on time.

9. They are pretty expensive.
That ‘superfood’ label comes with a price tag. Definitely not for you if you’re cooking on a budget. But I’m sure as they become more widespread this will moderate itself.

10. They’re grown in Australia.
So if you’re in Oz you can support a local industry.

11. They’re high in Omega-3s
So if you’re not eating enough fish, they are a great alternative. Like the omega-3s in flax seeds, the chia omega-3s are a bit more difficult for our bodies to digest than fish omega-3s. So best to use ground chia seeds to make it easier on your body to get the goodies it needs.

12. They can be used as an egg replacer.
I haven’t tried this because I love eggs. But Sarah Wilson suggests combining 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water for each egg you’re replacing.

13. They’re not too hard to track down.
I live in a small country town and my supermarket stocks chia seeds. If yours doesn’t, try your local health food store or I’m sure you’d be able to get them online.

chia seed 'risotto'-3

Chia Seed & Mushroom ‘Risotto’

I have 2 warnings with this dish. If you’re not a fan of slimy or gooey textures, this won’t be the best recipe for you. If that hasn’t deterred you, make sure you drink lots of water to keep everything regular.

Enough for 2
3-4 tablespoons butter
4 field mushrooms, sliced
100g (3.5oz) chia seeds
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 large handfuls grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
large handful baby spinach, to serve

1. Heat half the butter in a medium saucepan. Cook mushrooms over a medium heat until well browned and soft. Remove and keep warm.

2. Add the rest of the butter, chia seeds and stock to your saucepan.

3. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until the texture is oozy like a good risotto.

4. Stir in parmesan and serve the ‘risotto’ with mushrooms on top and baby spinach on the side.

VARIATIONS
no chia seeds? – Make a red lentil ‘risotto’ instead. Use (200g / 7oz red lentils and 3 cups stock).

dairy-free / vegan – replace butter with extra virgin olive oil and replace parmesan with brazil nut ‘parmesan’.

no stock - like a regular risotto, we’re really relying on our stock to provide flavour. The only thing I’d consider trying is a mixture of tomato passata and water.

carnivore – cook some crumbled pork sausages with the mushrooms.

Video version of the recipe.

With love,
Jules x
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{ 19 comments }

Jemma December 17, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I also don’t like the term superfood, especially when there are so many everyday foods which are so healthy. I do eat chia in my smoothies every morning though for the great nutritional value, I find they don’t really have a taste. I buy them online in bulk and they are about half the price compared to the supermarket.

Carol December 17, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Jules, I bet you would like iskiate! Tarahumara energy drink for 100+ mile runs….if you can stand the slime, it’s pretty yummy. Water, chia, lime juice, honey or agave. Here’s one example recipe: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/tarahumara-pinole-chia-recipes/

jules January 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Wow that’s a new one for me Carol!

My marathon running days are well behind me though and my knees are very happy about that!

Be careful of agave though it’s almost pure fructose which gets converted directly by our bodies into fat…

Jx

jules January 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I hear you Jemma!

And great tip to buy online in bulk to save

Jx

Catherine December 18, 2013 at 6:24 am

I recently decided to hop on the chia bandwagon and have been mixing them in with my morning oatmeal or smoothie. They are pretty good, but that that texture is a little weird at first! I love the idea of a more savory chia dish, this risotto looks like a winner.

jules January 7, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Great Catherine!
Just remember to drink plenty of water :)
Jx

Kathleen December 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

I make a chia flat bread so I have had good supply of seeds in my pantry before they became vogue . I was shocked when I had to restock, they doubled in price. Still love them! Great post.

jules January 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Would love to see your chia flatbread recipe Kathleen!

And yikes to the price hike!

Jx

Natasha December 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm

I read this post when it arrived in my inbox the other morning and – as always – thoroughly enjoyed your turn of phrase and matter-of-fact information… That day my husband and I visited MONA in Hobart (simply spectacular!) and at one point got to talking with one of the staff members there, Belinda. She told me she had just been reading about chia seeds and I started telling her what I had just learned (as well as from previous experience) and that the texture can be a little bit slimy – then Belinda told me that the post she was reading said to try not to think about snot! We laughed when we found out we’d been reading the same blog and then enjoyed a great chat about your blog and other things art and internet – it was lovely to randomly meet another stone soup reader and we thought you’d like to hear about it :D

jules January 7, 2014 at 5:50 pm

LOVE IT Natasha!

Thanks so much for sharing! And I love MONA as well so that makes it even better ;)
Jx

Chloe Baker December 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Unfortunately for me I am cooking on a budget! Would love to add more ‘superfoods’ into my diet but that just adds up the cost. For me, it seems, that when eating healthy on a budget is just eating the same things over and over again!

Tan December 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

Chloe,
I pay approx $6:50-$7 for a 150g bag of black Chia seeds. I sprinkle a small amount into my fresh fruit salad for breakfast and the pack lasts me approx 1 month. :-)

jules January 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Thx for sharing Tan!

jules January 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Chloe!

You’re right that eating on a budget it’s best to avoid anything labelled a ‘superfood’ but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

I have an online class specifically geared towards healthy eating on a budget. More details here:
http://thestonesoupshop.com/budget/

Jx

Tan December 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Chloe,
I pay approx $6:50-$7 for a 150g bag of black Chia seeds. I sprinkle a small amount into my fresh fruit salad for breakfast and the pack lasts me approx 1 month. :-)

Maya January 5, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I just saw this and had to make it straight away! I’m really impressed with this. I added some poached chicken, because I knew I might not cope with the chia seeds. I did and more than that, the flavours were spot on. I will be making this again for sure. Delicious dish. Thank you so much :)

jules January 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Wonderful Maya!
Thanks for reporting back :)
Jx

Maria @ Foodpix photography January 6, 2014 at 5:12 am

It looks great! can’t wait to try it Thanks for sharing

jules January 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm

You’re welcome Maria

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